The PMA Retailer Hot Picks were run again this year, with a panel of predominantly US retailers nominating the new products they considered likely to generate good profits.
The net was caste broadly, with the retailer panel not restricting itself to the somewhat meagre new product offeriings on show at the PMA@CES show, but also the main CES exhibition.
What’s remarkable about the Hot Picks products listed below is just how few of them are available in Australia and New Zealand. A viable Australasian specialist retailing sector needs a broad range of specialised products, and there would seem to be oportunity for canny local distributors to secure some of these new lines for the local marketplace.
Artsy Couture: Photograph displays with floating blocks for pictures and wording. No investment in hardware, no ongoing cost. Pay as you go. http://artsycouture.com/
Pro Cyc MyStudio: ‘My Studio’ Miniature cyclorama shooting sets with lights. Rugged and not ridiculously overpriced. http://www.procyc.com/mystudio-products
Brisa Entertainment: Easy gift sell. The photo is sealed inside a pop-lid can. Keystone markup, nice display.
3D Photo Crystal: 3D Photo Crystal booth for events. Everything that is required to capture and engrave 3D portraits in crystal cubes are integrated in one unique portable 3D photo crystal booth. Ideal tool for all events (weddings, parties, reunions, celebrations, corporate events, trade shows, etc. Self contained unit. Pricing for full unit approximately US$50K. (Local company Imaage distributes a 3D Photo Crystal photo system.)
Beta Shell: Rigid, water-proof, shock resistant lens case designed to provde a lifetime of unsurpassed protection to your expensive SLR rangefinder, and video optics. Allows you to travel in the harshest conditions and in the most extreme environments with confidence your gear will be there to catch the perfect shot. Pricing $50 and up. http://www.betashell.com/
Black Rapid: Ergonomically curved, ultra comfortable camera strap allows user to side up to shooting position in a split second. Grab, Slide, Click! Dual shoulder and single shoulder versions for men or women, or depending on your comfort –level preference. (Black Rapid distributed in Australia by Adeal Pty Ltd.
Promote Control: Digital SLR Camera Remote Control featuring HDR Bracketing, Focus stacking and bulb ramping for the pro and amateur photographer. http://www.promotesystems.com/
Pentax Q: The Pentax Q is the smallest interchangeable lens camera to date, maybe borrowing from the Pentax SLR 110 days, but this time Pentax is working a little magic with its tiny sensor camera . Check out a full size image from that little camera and you’ll be surprised at the image quality. And, with the number of accessories already are available, you’ll have some ‘extras’ to sell right away. Adaptors allow SLR lenses to be used. ‘The specialty retailer will have fun with this little guy,’ noted the Hot Picks judges (especially so in Australia, where there is no US price differential for local retailers to compete with). Pentax is of course distributed in Australia by CR Kennedy.
Tamrac feminine camera bags: More and more women are moving to DSLR cameras yet most camera bags are still decidedly ‘masculine’. Carrying a line of camera bags designed for women will show you care about that segment of the market. They’ll make your retail display look better too. Tamrac is distributed in Australia by CR Kennedy.
Tristar (APV): HK-based Tristar offers a number of products that can help newcomers improve their video DSLR shots including constant lights and low level video stabilizers. http://www.tristar-photo.com/
Heigl Technologies Card Printers (Dualys, Zenius, Zebra): High-performance, dual-sided colour printer to personalise cards individually or in bulk. Great tool for branding and marketing you business. It’s value add for the company making the sale and it’s free advertising for the business. These card makers allows you to generate gift cards. Pricing: US$1200 – $1400. http://www.heigltech.com/printers.htm
Goal Zero: Portable solar power system that powers a variety of devices anyplace at anytime. Australian distributor: http://www.goalzero.com.au/
Sea Sucker: A vacuum mount for holding your iPhone or iPad in place on various surfaces. A heavy duty flex arm allows you to blend and turn your tablet to get your screen to the perfect position. Pump it until the seal is tight (a couple of pumps) and one second to disengage it. Australian distributor: http://seasucker.com.au/index.php
Schneider Optics iPro (lens system for iPhone): Fisheye and Wide Angle lenses that easily twist on and off and let you capture more in every shot. The pocket-sized lens case security protects your lenses, doubles as a universal tripod mount and also makes a comfortable handle. Pricing: US$199. http://www.iprolens.com/
Fuji-Xpro: Interchangeable lens hybrid viewfinder camera system. Great retro design reminiscent of the Leica at a fraction of the price! (And a fraction of the cachet!)
Apex Digital GigaPan EPIC: Camera harness system for making massive panoramic pictures. http://gigapan.org/
Polaroid Z340: Shoots 14mpix file plus makes instant prints with fun retro-image effects.
Sony NEX 5N and NEX 7: Very compact body with a large APS C size sensor in a mirrorless SLR.
The PMA Hot Picks team was led by Brian Mundy, Laura Mundy and Chelsea Mundy (aka ‘The Mundys’), and products were nominated by an expert panel including Australia’s own Phil Gresham.